This, That & The Other Thing

Is your life a busy mosaic of activities in the summer? I’m betting so. It is always a challenge for our Farmgirl chapter (High Plains Sage Hens) to organize a time when all of us can be present, but we did it and held our monthly get-together this past week. The hostess hen, Jenny, taught us the “how to” and provided most of the materials for creating mosaic goodies. Wanna see?

As I write this, I’m just a weeee bit overwhelmed. This weekend is our little town’s annual festival and it began tonight with a benefit auction and street dance. Tomorrow is the BIG day and the activities & events run back to back all day long and at the same time in many cases. I apologize for the delay in getting my new blog article up, but today my life was in the NASCAR fast lane and my tires were smokin’.

In addition to getting a float ready for the parade, this was the afternoon that we were to have our cattle (the calf crop) professionally video-taped in preparation for them being sold. It was hotter’n blue blazes. We eased around the herd and moved the cattle nice & easy so that the sales representative could film the cows and calves. Whilst riding along, my husband’s cell phone rings and it was his daughter asking to talk to me to get some last minute details about the jewelry I donated to the benefit auction that she organized. I could hear my mind ticking away, so many things to think about…it was as if I was in a clock store show room…ticking on every side of you and then all of the clocks start chiming at once. Ever feel like that??

Tomorrow morning… well, I can’t think about that right now. It will bring a whole new pile and when I began composing this article, I wasn’t quite done sorting out today’s pile. I also need to back up a bit. Originally, I was going to offer up an easy going report about our most recent farmgirl get-together. But then, bingedy-bing-bing-bing…one thing after another hit and came to mind. Perhaps you too will soon ask yourself, “Where did the summer go?” because it zooms by so fast just trying to keep up with us. There I go again…mind running too fast. Note to self: Chill Out.

Ok, so what was I saying? Oh yea, our farmgirl meeting! Our hostess hen was “Jenny”. Upon our arrival, she gifted all of us with matching cupcake aprons. Cupcakes are smiles you can eat. There were other gifts too…Lisa gave each of us scented candles and Michelle painted folksy Americana flags on large sheets of corrugated tin for her lucky farmgirl gal-pals. Jenny served us a dinner that included bacon wrapped chicken breasts, pan gravy, a yummy salad (cukes, tomatoes, avocados, cilantro), bagette bread and dipping oil. The craft project for the evening was learning how to make mosaic items – something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

Jenny provided most of the materials to work with and after our supper, we headed to her patio to get ‘Project Mosaic’ underway. A couple of us brought clay flower pots to embellish. I also brought some broken china and glass from the old dump on the ranch. Poor Jenny, she accidentally knocked two of her cherished antique pottery bowls off of a shelf last week. You can see here how the pieces found a new lot in life in the above photo. We used our handy-dandy hammer to make the broken pieces smaller and away we went mosaic-ing! My flower pot morphed into a tea pot of sorts. Anita put bits & pieces of broken canning jars (blue-green and lavender) on an old mirror. Oh we had fun and very sticky fingers!

Lisa had told me earlier that Jenny was on the hunt for a farmgirl style bike or a vintage looking one. I just happened to have an old 3-speed Columbia named ‘Bluebelle’. So, I cleaned her up and put some goodies in her basket and she went to her new home with Jenny. However, we didn’t know that Jenny had just bought this gorgeous new bike. So, now she has two! Shown below is Michelle taking the new bike for a test drive. Also shown below is a birdhouse Michelle made for me to deliver to the lady who let us go junk hunting on her parent’s property. Michelle made the birdhouse as a thank-you gift. The name plaque had been nailed to the gal’s parent’s old house. Neat hu?

Remembering the title of this edition of my blog, I’ll move onto the “other” things. But before I do, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for so many kind comments and lovely private emails. I love hearing from you and other site visitors really enjoy reading the comments section. Keep it up! Ok, so, summer is zooming by for us all, I bet those of you who garden might be as amazed as I am when your garden patch really starts coming on. I’ve got a cucumber almost ready for salad. Us northerners have to wait longer than those of you who garden in more temperate places. Boy, I really had to water today since it was 90 degrees. My pullets scurried from one shady place to the next.

I really enjoy the MaryJanesFarm Sisterhood Connection forum and I remember reading that many of you (like me) ordered chicks this past spring. I hadn’t had chickens for four years prior and I’m so enjoying my little flock. I’ve spent a lot of time with them and a few are true “lap chickens”. I do need to have a covered run built since I lost one pullet to a red-tailed hawk. I saved a second one literally from the hawk’s death grip. That lucky little chicken spent two days inside, but she did recover. The breeds I have are: Welsummer, Cuckoo Marans, Blue Wyandotte and Dark Brahma. The little barred beauty is my only named pullet, “Ida”. That is her first name. Her last name is RatherBeOnYourLap.

I just bought two more perennials and an Austrian Pine. All of the garden shops around here were offering 50-75% off last week. I bet many of you had a busy spring planting gardens and creating landscape projects. I’ve spent my summer evening hours hauling 100 feet of hose around. Thank Heavens for my golf cart! I “pony” the hose around with it clamped under one arm. A golf cart is this farmgirl’s best friend!!! Mine looks like a Beverly Hills hillbilly version with a pitchfork and a broom in the golf club holsters(?), various buckets hangin’ onto the sides, maybe a bale of hay and Lord knows what-all-else on board. Oh…and two dogs riding shotgun.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…summer is the time of year we are busiest. But, for the moment, things are kind of settled – not as much riding. The bulls are turned out and the calves are growing nicely. I ride my 3 year old palomino filly every chance I get when we go out to check on the herd. This has been a GREAT grass year (see photo below). Here are some pics of life around here in the last two weeks…

Here is how the grass is looking in much of our country. Banner year for grass growth…and HAY!

This is “Ribbon” hanging out in a corral at a recent branding…eyeball high in grass.

Here is my Beloved…dragging calves to be branded.

Freshly branded calf with her mama. The calves are also vaccinated.

Summer is a fun time to go on “field trips” with farmgirl pals. We love to do lunch, go antique-ing, hit the fabric shops and garden centers. I collect antique china and I found a really neat old metal dish drying rack to display some of my plates in.

Ahhhhh, it worked. The frazzled nerves and anxiety seems a lot smaller than it did two hours ago. My rose bush’s first offering has a magical way of making the world a quieter place…even if it is just for the moment I pause to enjoy it.

As evening fell, I glanced back at the tractor drying off in the golden light of dusk and listened to the crickets. The tractor needed a spiffing up for the parade tomorrow, so I hosed off the dust and bird droppings. The sun has set on all that kept me on the run today. Life was good here today, good & busy, good & full. Now, I’m good & tired. It is a nice thought to go to bed with. My tired, 54 year old feet are ready to slide into cool bed-sheets. Nighty-night farmgirls.

  1. Boy Howdy do I understand this blog! I have been thinking of you girls and been so busy my thoughts have been on the fly. It sounds like you had such great fun! Congrats on another great blog!

  2. Debbie says:

    Top of the morning to you Shery and visiting farmgirls!
    Summer time sure is full of this that and the other thing isn’t it? I thought it was just us " New Englanders" that act like chickens with our heads cut off during the month of June in particular and half way through July too! Maybe it’s cuz we know our time outdoors is short-lived and we feel we have to squeeze in so many things we have waited all the long days of winter to do in the garden, with family and friends, and in solitude…
    As always I am mesmerized by your photos of ranch life… and I really enjoyed your monthly project with the Sage Hens! I’ve done a little mosaic work on some of my ‘trash to treasure’ finds and found it to be fun and easy… I like forgiving kinds of art mediums… The kind where PLAYING rules and technique takes a back seat long enough to get you through your first few projects! I have a set of dishes that match the large oval platter you show peaking out of the back of your box of supplies… Reminds me of many homemade breakfasts round’ our little table enjoying hubbies home cooked waffles! Speaking of breakfast, I better get the coffee going…My beloved is waiting…

    One of the things we just HAD to do this summer was to put up a screen house on our west facing deck… It’ the new favorite place to hang out at home ( when we aren’t at the cottage )… OH! One more thing… your garden certainly flourished and your chickens are just adorable!
    Our growing season takes a while to get under way here near the cape as well, we are just now able to eat peas right off the vine and the most exciting thing to watch these days are the pumpkin vines creeping out of the garden and stretching across the grass!
    Grab a cup of coffee and come see my SUMMER GARDEN at it’s peak on my blog. I think you’ll all get a kick out of the Sink Garden! It’s right up your alley Shery!

    Love and Dandelion Wishes,

  3. diane says:

    it’s so lovely "spending a day" with you! what a wonderful experience to share – i wish i was there. and thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. you are a great photographer! someday i will visit "mary jane country."
    thanks shery!

  4. Shery,
    Thanx for letting us spend time with you and your gal-pals. It’s so true, trying to find time to get together (in Summer) is tuffer than uncooked beans! lol!
    But when we manage to steal time away for a "play date" it is soooo theraputic. After all an afternoon with friends, food & giggles is good for the soul.
    farmgirl hugz

  5. Brenda says:

    Your photography is wonderful. I am always looking for a new post from you not only for the words but also for the beautiful pictures. Your new plantings are wonderful. Put mine to shame. I have been saving some broken tea cups and saucers that got knocked off the top of the china cabinet years ago for some sort of mosaic. I need to try that. My Barred hen is also a lap chicken. She was the first to jump up on my lap and now I have 3 or 4 other out of the 12 that also visit in this way and she gets her beak all out of line. She does not like to sit on one knee while another is on the other. She pitches a fit and pecks at my back-end, my ring and today she was pulling at my shirt tail. Her name is Florence but I love how you named yours. I would never have expected to fall in love with my chickens, but I have and am glad they have a run. But the grass is all scratched up and gone and I think I need to let them out to graze the yard a little. We also have hawks and I am just a scaredy cat.

  6. carolj says:

    Shery, Thank you for taking time out of your busy life to write this blog. I always enjoy your pictures–so colorful. At 51 1/2 I am yearning more and more for the company of girlfriends. Isn’t it great to share time with those we hold dear? I always feel refreshed just to focus on a joint project that takes me out of the bustle and into plain old fun. Take a deep breath.


    Carol J

  7. Cora Jo says:

    Shery, Again and again, thank you for such poetic beauty in word and picture. I was looking at an old country magazine yesterday (may take me years to finish with one)and found pictures of the Big Horn Mt. area where I raised my kids. Nearly cried…but, God is good and I sit on my screen porch facing the "back" toward the Androscoggin River flowing by me here in NH and I know beauty is all around us…wherever that is. My now cancer-free John is hiking the Appalachian Trail which gives me free rein with the lawn…I need to hire help! But, my cukess are nearly ready and beans are coming on and I’ll have a fried green tomato this week! Thanks for keeping us "farmgirls" afloat with your blog. cora jo

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